ROME – Generally, I write these editor’s notes to announce an addition to Crux’s offerings, such as a new staff member, a new partnership, or a new journalistic project. Unfortunately, this time I’m writing to announce a subtraction – one which stirs not only sorrow, but also deep pride.
Claire Giangravè, our Faith and Culture correspondent and a key ingredient in Crux’s success over the last three years, is leaving us to take up a new position with the Religion News Service as their Vatican correspondent as part of a broader partnership with the Associated Press. Giangravè will be their lead reporter on what is, at least in my opinion, the most fascinating beat in journalism.
The hire immediately puts the RNS/AP partnership on the map, among other things providing a powerful reason for subscribing to their service. (We’ll probably pony up, because the idea of a Crux without her byline once in a while is simply intolerable.)
Giangravè has more than earned her spot, because she’s an agile reporter with a great nose for news. Beyond that, she’s also one of the best people you’ll ever meet, and every experience with her has been an absolute delight.
Our own Vatican coverage will continue to be quarterbacked by “Instant” Inés San Martín, so-called because whenever Catholic news breaks she’s instantly on top of it. Over the last six years, San Martín has earned a reputation as the most intrepid and dogged reporter working the Vatican beat today, and she’ll guarantee Crux continues to be the go-to destination for the latest and greatest on all things papal.
Whenever I think about Giangravè as a journalist, I flash on Robert Redford’s baseball movie “The Natural,” because that’s exactly what she is. At one point, Redford’s curmudgeonly manager, played by Wilfrid Brimley, says to him: “You’re better than any player I ever had. And you’re the best Goddamn hitter I ever saw. Suit up!”
That’s exactly how I always felt about Giangravè, who’s the best natural writer I’ve ever worked with. A couple of her Crux pieces, in my opinion, belong in anthologies of the best Catholic writing of the early 21st century, and I look forward to reading even more compelling offerings from her ahead.
When the end of the road eventually comes, I know that on the “Top Ten” list of things of which I’m proudest, giving Claire Giangravè her professional start will figure prominently. Even more prominent will be being able to call her my friend.
Godspeed, Claire. And to the powers that be at RNS, this warning: Treat her right, or you’ll have hell to pay from her biggest fans at Crux!